Biden stands behind Afghan withdrawal, despite ‘hard and messy’ final days.

Biden stands behind Afghan withdrawal, despite ‘hard and messy’ final days.


There are also concerns about refugees flowing to Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

Canada said last week that it would resettle more than 20,000 Afghans from groups it considers likely targets of the Taliban, including leading women, rights workers and L.G.B.T.Q. people.

The publishers of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post called on Mr. Biden to help evacuate Afghan journalists who had contributed to the papers’ coverage of the region. In a joint letter on Monday, the publishers asked Mr. Biden to “move urgently” to protect the safety of journalists and their families who “are trapped in Kabul, their lives in peril.”

Reacting to events of the weekend that left hundreds of Afghans desperately running after military planes as the administration ferried Americans to safety, Mr. Biden described the situation as “gut wrenching” and said he was “deeply saddened by the facts we now face.”

But he repeatedly directed his ire at Afghanistan’s political leaders, saying he unsuccessfully urged them to engage in real diplomacy.

“This advice was flatly refused,” he said.

Mr. Biden vowed again to rescue thousands of Afghans who had helped Americans during the two-decade conflict, but the fate of many who remained in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan was uncertain Monday. And thousands of Afghans with dual American citizenship remained unaccounted for amid reports of revenge attacks by the Taliban as they seized control.

The president acknowledged criticism that the administration did not move quickly enough to evacuate Afghans who served as interpreters and others. But he said the Afghan government had discouraged a mass evacuation, saying it would cause a “crisis of confidence” in the country’s ability to fight the Taliban.

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Over the weekend, Mr. Biden, who had been scheduled to remain on vacation through the week, remained with his family at the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains rather than quickly return to the White House while the situation in Afghanistan worsened. In addition to a long written statement on Saturday, the White House released a photo of Mr. Biden, sitting alone at a conference room table at Camp David, as he conducted a virtual meeting with his foreign policy advisers on a large television screen.